March 2006


RV Parks Abound In Lake Mead Area

By Margie Anderson

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is twice the size of the state of Rhode Island, and even with the water level down, there is still plenty of room for boating and fishing. It is also a great RV destination, with many RV parks.

The surrounding desert is gorgeous and offers plenty of fun for hikers and photographers. Itís the perfect place for a dayís drive, too.

Three desert ecosystems (the Mojave, the Great Basin, and the Sonoran deserts) meet in Lake Mead NRA, so it is home to a variety of animals and plants, many of which are unique to the area.

There are plenty of roads to explore, with covered picnic tables scattered all through the NRA. If you decide to venture off the road for a hike, please be sure to follow basic survival rules: First, and most important, tell someone where you are and when you will be back. Second, carry plenty of water.

A gallon per person per day is what the rangers recommend.

Many Places RVers Can Explore

There are plenty of cool places to visit nearby, too, and RVers can explore to their heartsí delight. The Grand Canyon isnít that far away and is definitely worth a dayís drive.

You can also visit the Valley of Fire Park. Itís just a few miles north of Echo Bay Resort. There are a lot of ancient petroglyphs in the Valley of Fire, so youíll want to make sure youíve got your camera with you, not only for the petroglyphs, but also for the red rock formations that gave the Valley of Fire its name.

A fish hatchery, where trout are bred for lakes Mead and Mohave, can be found three miles north of Lake Mead Resort, and itís open to the public seven days a week. And, donít forget Las Vegas, which is only half an hour away.

When people think of Nevada, they usually think of Las Vegas first, but Nevada is actually a fantastic place for an outdoorsman. They have several dynamite shooting ranges in the Vegas area, for example.

One is just outside Boulder City. Nevada also offers plenty of hunting and fishing opportunities. Visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife Web site to find out more: http://www.ndow.org/.

While youíre boating on Lake Mead, itís hard to resist taking photo after photo. The rock formations, with their different colors of strata, often look like castles or even some weird, alien landscape. Itís truly beautiful.

Great Fishing At Mead

The lake itself has some of the best fishing in Arizona, and a lot of big bass tournaments are held there. In March, the stripers and bass start biting really well.

During the summer, starting in May, bluegills are fun to catch. Mead offers these fish plus catfish and crappie.

Your best bet for a good time fishing is to call ahead and ask at the tackle shops what theyíre biting.

Speaking of tackle shops, if youíre in the Lake Mead area you have got to visit the Bass Pro Shop. Itís just off I-15 on Blue Diamond Road.

If you have never been to a Bass Pro, youíre going to be blown away. It is also the perfect place to find out whatís working on Mead because the people there are actually outdoorsmen. You can get directions and maps, as well as information, at www.basspro.com.

Since Lake Mead is run by the National Park Service, there is a modest entry fee. Five dollars covers everyone in your vehicle for five days, and you can get an annual pass for just twenty bucks.

Go to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area Web site for details on Golden Age passports and other fees. That site is http://www.nps.gov/lame/home.html.

Many Launching Places

There are many places where you can launch your boat on Mead, and there are several big marinas and resorts as well. While youíre at the Bass Pro Shop, pick up a map of the lake so youíll know your way around.

Echo Bay is on the north arm (Overton Arm) of Lake Mead. It tends to be less crowded that some of the other areas, since it is farther from Vegas.

Unless itís really windy the water is generally calmer there, too. They have a full-service marina and RV park, among other things. Here are numbers for Echo Bay: Overton Beach Resort (702) 394-4040, Echo Bay Harbor (702) 394-4000, Seven Crown Resorts (800) 752-9669. The Web site is www.sevencrown.com.

Callville Bay is on the north side of Boulder basin, less than an hour from Las Vegas. It has a full-service marina, RV park, campsites, and a lounge. Snacks and other items are available in the gift shop, and you can rent just about anything that goes on the water.

See http://www.callvillebay.com/ for more information, or call (702) 565-8958; RV park: 702-565-8958.

Temple Bar Marina is like a secluded little village. Turn off I-93 near mile marker 19 and take the paved road.

Itís twenty-eight miles to Temple Bar, so donít start thinking youíre not on the right road. Theyíve got it all down there: hotel, fishing cabins, kitchen units, laundry facilities, an RV park, picnic areas, boat and PWC rentals ó the works!

Visit their Web site at www.sevencrown.com or call them at (928) 767-3211 for information and reservations.

Lake Mead Resort and Marina is only half an hour from Vegas, on Lakeshore Drive. Itís the closest marina to the dam.

They have a full-service marina with rentals of almost every type of boat, including personal watercraft. The marina features slips, moorage, repair facilities and gas dock.

There is also a restaurant (toss your scraps to the voracious carp that hang around) and places to buy gifts, snacks, and bait. Visit their Web site at www.sevencrown.com or call them at (702) 293-3484.